Tell me your landscape and I’ll tell you who you are.
– Jose Ortega y Gasset
Consistently, the most visited pages of our website are the biographies of our team members. What this seems to confirm for us is that first and foremost, prospective clients are interested in learning about our professional backgrounds in addition to the nature of our life experiences. When combined, these experiences define much of who we are and who we will be as a company.
In choosing a partner to help manage your wealth, it is important to understand the “landscape” of the firm and individuals that you select. Parts of our landscape are evolving over time as we grow, both in the size of our team and the clients we serve. But there are parts of our landscape that are unchanging. Our biographical information is designed to help you learn about both of those aspects of our firm.
Gregory A. Carlson is a founding principal of Carlson Capital Management. As CEO his primary responsibilities include developing and setting the vision for the firm. In addition, Greg is actively involved in managing client relationships. Greg is a 1982 graduate of St. Olaf College, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Greg went on to earn his designation as a Certified Financial Planner™. He worked for four years with IDS/American Express as a financial planner and manager, then established Carlson Capital Management in 1987. Greg has provided investment counsel and advice to clients for three decades and is a speaker and writer on the topics of financial, estate and philanthropic planning.
Greg is an active community member and has served in leadership roles on numerous boards and committees of civic, professional and religious organizations including the Northfield Rotary Club, American Center for Philanthropy, Northfield Area Foundation, Bethel Lutheran Church, Mt. Carmel Ministries, St. Olaf College, and TIAA-CREF Institute. Greg is also the co-founder of 5th Bridge, which is now a part of Northfield Shares, an organization founded to advance philanthropy, inspire volunteerism and promote collective leadership. Greg and his wife, Nancy, live in Northfield, where they have raised their three daughters.
I have learned that wisdom comes from experience and experience is gathered over time. Over the past 30 years, I have seen and worked with most of the technical issues people face in developing financial plans. But more importantly, I have been a part of our clients’ lives. I have seen the joys and challenges of wealth. I have experienced births and deaths, nursing homes, divorces, retirements and layoffs. I have witnessed the best and worst of families, the ups and downs of the stock markets, the comings and goings of trends and fads. I have seen goals set and achieved and opportunities created that no one thought existed. I have seen good and bad investments (and even invested in a few bad ones myself in the earlier years). Through all of this, I have learned the importance of being technically strong, disciplined and trustworthy and to be of uncompromising integrity. I am proud to have formed, and to be a part of a firm, which has these principles at its core.
Much of who we are as adults is steeped in our formative years as children and young people. I grew up on the prairies of western Minnesota where I was exposed to hard work, discipline and honesty. As one of five children of a school teacher and mother who stayed at home during the child-rearing years, my life revolved around family, church and sports. I was expected to do well (which meant only my best) in my education, sports and work, but always with a respect and concern for those around me.
When I was 12, and in the sixth grade, one afternoon my teachers gathered the entire class together to review a math test that we had all taken. Before beginning the review, Mrs. Halvorson wanted to draw attention to two students who had done exceptionally well–I was one of them. As she proceeded to go through the correct answer and method to each question, it became clear to me that she had not corrected my paper accurately. As I watched my “A” slip to a “C”, I began erasing the wrong answers for which I had received credit and replaced them with the new correct answers. At the conclusion of the review I stared at my paper now 100% correct. It took me only moments to re-erase the correct answers and replace them with the wrong answers and trudge to the front of the class to inform Mrs. Halvorson that I wasn’t the bright shining student on that exam.
Honesty is a value I hold sacred. Honesty means always telling the truth, even when it hurts. Honesty means being transparent in how I conduct business and in all aspects of my life. Most importantly, honesty means being authentic even when it shows my flaws.
It is the foundation of the first 22 years of my life, with the experiences of the following 35 years, that have guided me in working with the clients of Carlson Capital Management and developing our firm into a successful wealth management firm. I have a strong desire to excel at both the client and company level, but only by earning it. It is my philosophy that we need to always excel at taking care of our clients first and that in turn will shape who we are as a firm--our success will follow.
Jeffrey R. Carlson is a founding principal of Carlson Capital Management. His primary responsibilities include managing client relationships and helping to lead the firm’s business development initiatives. Jeff also develops and sets the vision for the firm. Jeff is a 1983 graduate of St. Olaf College, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, with specific concentrations in finance and accounting. Jeff began his career with IDS/American Express and shortly there-after earned his Certified Financial Planner™ designation. Jeff has been providing wealth management advice to clients and their families for three decades and has developed specific areas of expertise in retirement and early retirement planning, stock option management, estate planning, insurance services and developing integrated plans that include philanthropic giving.
Jeff is an active volunteer with numerous organizations including Hastings Area Rotary Club, St. Philips Lutheran Church, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Hastings Area YMCA, Green Lake Lutheran Ministries and the Hastings chapter of Let’s Go Fishing for seniors. Jeff is also an active alumnus of St. Olaf College, and currently serves as the Class of ’83 Correspondent and Class Fund Agent. In maintaining family tradition, Jeff is an avid tennis player and enjoys serving as a volunteer coach with the Hastings High School Tennis Team. Jeff also enjoys golf and spending time with his family. Jeff and his wife, Stacy, live in Hastings, Minnesota, where they raised their three children.
Sports have and always will play an important part in my life. It is through these activities that I have learned hard work, discipline, and teamwork. Let me provide a few examples.
As a sophomore on the St. Olaf Basketball team, I was disenchanted with my playing time and the lack of opportunities to prove myself. With my speech to my coach memorized, I walked into his office to make my case for increased playing time. Before I was even able to say my opening line, I was presented with these words: “You are slow, you make poor decisions, and have an inability to score!”
So, I asked myself, “Do I quit or do I try to prove him wrong?”. By the end of the season, I was the first guard off the bench, lettered, and was given the “Mr. Hustle” award by my teammates. I may not have been the most talented, but I understood the value and reward in working hard and doing my best to help the team.
Another example recalls how I always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps as a strategist and coach. I can picture my dad, days before a tennis match, shuffling and re-shuffling line ups to get the best opportunity for success against the opposing team. To a degree, what I really enjoy doing at Carlson Capital Management, I learned from my father. First, I know that to best serve our clients requires expertise and strategy from many different angles, including tax, estate, and investment perspectives. Understanding data and information is important, but it is the ability to put information together into a cohesive plan and structure that requires true expertise, experience and leadership. Second, to meet the needs of our clients, I am able to act as a coach to incorporate the best game strategies to “prevent unsuccessful outcomes” and create the best opportunity to win – that is, how to best accumulate, manage, and distribute their assets in such a manner as to help them accomplish what is most important to them.
Justin D. Stets is President of Carlson Capital Management. Justin oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm, providing direction to CCM’s functional areas, as well as leadership on the direction and vision of the firm. In addition, Justin is actively engaged as an Integrated Wealth Advisor. Before joining CCM in 1998, Justin spent eleven years with Wells Fargo Corporation. Principal experiences at Wells included lending to high-net-worth clients and brokering commercial banks. Justin graduated from St. Olaf College cum laude in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin, Greek and Religion. He is a Phi Beta Kappa alumnus. In 1987, he received his Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University.
Justin is also Chief Compliance Officer for the firm and holds an Accredited Investment Fiduciary professional designation, awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies. The AIF designation affirms the highest in fiduciary standards of care for CCM clients. Combining expertise with a Zero Alpha Group colleague, Justin is co-author of "Fiduciary Matters, Relationships of Trust,” an informative paper outlining the role of a fiduciary within a wealth advisory relationship.
Community involvement and professional leadership engagement is a priority for Justin. He recently completed a two-year term as president of Zero Alpha Group, and continues to be active on the organization's leadership team. Justin is co-founder of 5th Bridge, which is now a part of Northfield Shares, an organization founded to advance philanthropy, inspire volunteerism, and promote collective leadership, where he participates as a board member. Justin and his wife, Kristin, are also philanthropically committed to the success of projects located in Iringa, Tanzania and El Rosario, Guatemala.
Previous roles for Justin include serving as Vice President of the Board of Friends of Africa Education and with the Catholic community of St. Dominic in Northfield where he held various leadership positions. He is former Board President of the Northfield Community Action Center, as well as former President and Board member of the Ronald McDonald House of the Twin Cities. He also recently completed a term on the Schwab Advisor Services Advisory Board. Justin and Kristin live in Northfield, Minnesota, where they raised their four children.
I strongly believe that knowing someone’s personal history creates a window of insight for a client. Three pieces of information may help describe who I am. First, I am the last child of ten college educated siblings raised in northeast Ohio during the 1960′s-1970′s. Second, our family of twelve lived in a three bedroom, one bathroom apartment above a store which was owned and run by my mother. Third, I was raised and educated until high school as a Catholic, graduated from a Lutheran college, and attended a non-denominational theological graduate school.
With these three data points, you and I can have a great deal of conversation. We can discuss the value of money, as represented by a household of twelve that rarely ate meat (because it was so expensive), drank powdered milk, and gave recycled birthday cards out as gifts. We can discuss hard work – a mother who simultaneously raised 10 children and ran a successful business. We can converse about the value of an education and the persistence and sticktuitiveness required to accomplish such goals. We can talk about the political stress of the 1960′s, and the economic hardships of the 1970′s in comparison to today’s environment. Our dialogue could cover sibling relationships, how to pay for college, how to care for elderly parents and issues of ethical and moral responsibility. Because no one is immune, in my opinion, from the wanderings of the human spirit, we could enjoy conversation about the role of religion in one’s life, our community and our global environment.
All of these conversations are part of who Carlson Capital Management is, but perhaps not identified in a traditional format. Along with the years of experience and hundreds of stories of my colleagues, all the influences and experiences that we have collectively received dramatically shape our current philosophy and relationship with our clients. Placing the client in the center of all our actions is not just a nice business slogan to have, it is rooted in the fabric of who we are as individuals, and what we believe as a firm. Advocating for a transparent, clear and academically proven investment philosophy is not a marketing gimmick, it is the foundational equivalent of a “Bible” for us as investment advisors. Establishing delivery channels for our trust, tax and philanthropic work so that our clients are truly experiencing an integrative wealth management platform points to our philosophy of broad-based thinking and intelligent, holistic planning and action.
I am hopeful that when you come to Carlson Capital Management and meet our team, you experience not only competency, but quality and care. That is why we are here. This is what makes us tick.
Abbi Kramas is a Paraplanner at Carlson Capital Management. In this role, Abbi works closely with the firm’s wealth advisors, collaborating throughout the planning process to deliver comprehensive financial plans to clients. She is responsible for collecting, tracking and monitoring related data, preparing presentation materials and assisting with portfolio management. Abbi also facilitates client-advisor communications and works proactively to monitor and complete client-related servicing activities. In addition, she is responsible for a strong working knowledge of and leveraging of firm technology to best serve clients.
Abbi graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens-Point where she earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Administration and Accounting. Prior to joining CCM, Abbi worked for nine years serving in roles in insurance, banking and financial. When not at work, Abbi enjoys spending her time being active—particularly running and weight lifting. She also loves to spend time with friends and family and enjoys cooking. Abbi grew up in Mosinee, Wisconsin and now lives in Farmington, Minnesota with her two dogs, Bella and Jazmine.
Adam Hoffmann serves as Director of Investments & Research at Carlson Capital Management. In this role, he leads the firm’s investment team in the areas of trading, investment research, portfolio design and technology support for investment applications. Adam oversees analysis and execution of investment strategies for new and existing client portfolios. He consistently communicates the firm’s investment philosophy and approach by writing for firm publications, presenting to new clients, and by participating in client meetings. Adam chairs the CCM investment committee, represents the firm with strategic partnerships in the investment community, and serves as the firm’s liaison to the Zero Alpha Group investment committee. Adam holds the Certified Financial Planner™ designation granted through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and has served as a subject matter expert for the CFP Board, contributing to the development of examination questions for the CFP Certification Examination. He has also served as a presenter at industry events, providing other financial services professionals with continuing education credits in investment topics. In addition, Adam holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary professional designation, awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies. The AIF designation affirms the highest in fiduciary standards of care for CCM clients.
Adam graduated cum laude with Honors Program distinction from Augsburg College, where he earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Finance with a minor in Business Administration. While at Augsburg, Adam participated in four years of varsity football and was honored by his teammates by being elected captain for both his junior and senior seasons. He also earned all-MIAC and pre-season All-American honors.
Adam is a Trustee for the First United Church of Christ Northfield, and a former member of the board of directors for the Just Food Community Co-op. He and his wife Rachel grew up in Hastings, Minnesota and now live in Northfield with their two young daughters and dog, Lottie.
A strong sense of curiosity is a cornerstone to who I am and how I live my life. As a kid I used to be fascinated by how things work or why things happen the way they do. I often would take things apart to see what was happening ‘inside,’ frequently with limited success at being able to put them back together. Little has changed since then with regard to my curiosity, but fortunately my success rate of being able to put the pieces back together has greatly improved. I have always been driven by this desire to solve problems and learn more about the world around me.
There is a natural connection between this curiosity and managing portfolios. The investment world today is one of relentless change and evolution. With advances in technology, there is an endless stream of news available at our fingertips that constantly impacts asset prices, shapes investor behavior, and provides an unlimited supply of data and information to digest.
It is our job at CCM to absorb this information and provide guidance and knowledge back to our clients about what it all means and how it may it impact the world we know. The most important role we play in our clients’ financial lives is not only to understand the big picture – that is the Market and the global economic system – but to be able to translate how events and changes around the globe impact each individual client and their personal financial plan.
Being able to apply my deep-rooted curiosity in a way that allows our clients to focus on what they truly enjoy doing the most, rather than having to worry about their financial well-being, is a wonderful thing.
Adam and other members of the CCM Investment Team regularly post articles of interest including investment insights, recommended reading on timely topics, and articles on portfolio management which you can find here.
Andreas Scott is an Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. As part of the advisory team, Andreas is responsible for all aspects of client relationship and portfolio management. He serves clients by implementing and coordinating the integrated wealth management experience including investment management, retirement modeling, insurance analysis, educational planning and other general financial planning.
Andreas holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Finance from Bethel University, where he participated on the soccer team for four years. Following graduation, Andreas joined a Twin Cities financial services firm in the role of associate advisor. He went on to also serve in the roles of director of business development and financial advisor before joining the CCM team. Andreas holds the Certified Financial Planner™ designation granted through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, which he earned in 2014. He is also an active participant in a number of Twin Cities professional networking organizations.
Andreas is actively involved as a volunteer at his church and enjoys playing soccer as part of the Liga Soccer World league. He grew up in the Northern suburbs of Minneapolis, and now he and his wife, Laura, reside in Minneapolis with their son.
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.”
This quote by James A. Michener encapsulates my ‘why’; the aspirational point I’m working towards and the place at which I want to help clients arrive.
I’m fixated on creating an environment for myself, my family, and our clients where we are all able to become masters in the art of living. An environment where our decisions, both financial and non-financial, are consistently in harmony with our core values and beliefs.
I’ve found that this harmony allows for greater clarity and confidence when making difficult decisions in life and is paramount for a wealth management relationship. Being able to walk alongside clients as they go through this journey is a deeply satisfying experience that fosters profound relationships and is something I look forward to enjoying for many years to come.
Andrew Hauskins is a Senior Integrated Wealth Advisor for the Carlson Capital Management team. In this role, Andy works with clients on all aspects of planning and portfolio management. In addition, Andy is the lead advisor for the firm’s Carlson Portfolios platform. Andy began his career in financial services at Life Investors Insurance Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1998. While at Life Investors, Andy worked in the marketing department training new agents on life insurance, annuities, and basic financial planning techniques. Andy’s career then led him to the Director of Field Services position with CA Marketing, a medical insurance marketing firm in the Twin Cities. While there he gained extensive knowledge of individual health plans, small employer group health plans, short-term medical, and Health Savings Accounts. Andy holds the Certified Financial Planner™ designation granted through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
Andy graduated from Iowa State University in 1997, with a Bachelor of Science degree. In addition to his studies at Iowa State, Andy was a four-year letter winner in track & field. He was recognized as an Iowa State Scholar Athlete for excellence in academics. Andy is an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church and volunteers time with both the Northfield Area Family YMCA and St. Dominic School. He also serves on the Board for the Northfield Fastpitch Softball Association. Andy enjoys coaching his children’s sports teams and playing on the Northfield Millers baseball team. Andy, his wife Annie, and their three children live in Northfield, Minnesota.
“Steel started out as simply a lump of iron,” my father used to say to me, and “only through the relentless work of a blacksmith did it become a critical commodity.” When I was younger, I wasn’t sure why he would share such things with me, though I knew that in this case, he was passing along a quote from his own father. Then, one day during high school track practice, his words became quite valuable for me. I envisioned that the work of a blacksmith was very repetitive, difficult, and required focus in addition to physical discipline. I realized that success might mean continuing to “pound away” at something, as my coach was requiring me to do in sprints. I was ultimately rewarded for my hard work with success on the track, but even more, I was rewarded with discipline as a core value that I continue to carry with me. I certainly don’t claim to practice this perfectly, it is something toward which I strive, and that I try to impart to my own children.
The importance of being disciplined can demonstrate itself in multiple aspects of our lives. It is central to what we do at Carlson Capital Management as well. When the financial markets are challenging, it requires us to practice the discipline we speak of in theory when the markets are working in our favor – that is “staying the course.” We also integrate discipline into the educational, retirement and estate plans we work with clients to create. It is a key element in driving these plans to success.
I thoroughly enjoy working with clients – listening to their stories, hearing about their backgrounds, trying to learn what drives them and what is ultimately important to them. This greatly motivates me in my work in helping them meet and exceed their goals.
Members of the CCM Advisory Team regularly post articles of interest on financial planning which you can find here.
Angie Olson serves as the Marketing/Communications Coordinator for Carlson Capital Management. In this role, Angie facilitates the growth and stability of CCM and its brand through a broad range of marketing and communication initiatives and activities. She provides operational support in the key functions of client communications, marketing activities and materials, and community relations, while helping to lead event management.
Angie is a 2010 graduate from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. Prior to joining CCM, she worked as a legal assistant with a firm in Northfield, where she supported the team by drafting documents, managing calendars, providing reception duties and supporting the attorneys and office administrator. Angie enjoys volunteering, canoeing and fly fishing. Angie grew up in the Twin Cities and now lives in Northfield, Minnesota with her husband, Adam, and their two sons.
When I was younger, my dad bought me a 1952 John Deere Model G tractor for the two of us to restore. I remember watching as the tractor was unloaded onto our back driveway; it was covered in rust, smelled like gas and oil, but was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
I was tasked with the job of filling a tennis-ball sized dent on the tractor’s hood, then sanding the filler until it was flush with the metal. I sanded for hours, stopping periodically as my father reviewed my progress, and waiting patiently for him to say that my work looked complete. I was eager to get the dent filled so the tractor could be painted, and the sanding process felt like it was taking forever! But my father would consistently find ridges and bumps that I had missed, and I would be back to sanding.
It was through the restoration of this tractor that I learned the importance of patience. I learned the importance of putting time and attention into the “little things” as they impact the bigger picture. I keep this lesson close to me as an adult, and find that patience and attention to detail play key roles in my marketing and communications work at CCM. I am constantly seeking to perfect the details in order to enhance our clients’ overall experience.
Callie Geist is an Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. As part of the advisory team, Callie is responsible for implementing and coordinating all aspects of integrated wealth management for clients including investment management, retirement modeling, risk management analysis, estate and educational planning and other general financial planning according to a client's needs.
Callie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communication from Creighton University where she graduated cum laude. She went on to earn a Juris Doctor from the Creighton University School of Law, and is a member of Phi Delta Phi, an international legal fraternity. In addition, Callie holds an MBA from Kaplan University, and the Certified Financial Planner™ designation granted through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
Callie joined CCM after serving as a Tax Staff Accountant at a South Dakota company. As a law student and undergraduate, Callie clerked with the Kellogg & Palzer firm in Omaha, Nebraska, and worked with the SilverStone Company as a human capital consultant. Callie grew up in Northwest Iowa, and now telecommutes from Omaha where she resides with her husband, Aaron. She is a fan of Minnesota sports teams, enjoys cooking and spending time with her family, friends and her faithful dogs, Brin and Charlotte.
Callie and other members of the CCM Advisory Team regularly post articles of interest on financial planning which you can find here.
Cami Peterson serves as Director of Qualified Plans for CCM Institutional Client Services, a division of Carlson Capital Management that serves companies, organizations, and their employees. In this role, Cami leads the team managing 401(k) and other qualified plan clients. This includes working with plan sponsors, trustees, investment committee members, and plan administrators, to build and optimize successful retirement plans, and with plan participants to provide them with the tools and resources to give them the best chance for a successful retirement.
Cami brought more than twelve years of experience in the financial services industry to her position at CCM. She began her career by earning her CPA designation and working as a senior accountant for a large corporate accounting firm. She then served as a controller for a large home builder before starting as a financial advisor with a leading Twin Cities financial services organization, and subsequently, a regional RIA. During her time as an advisor, Cami developed a passion for working with business owners and plan fiduciaries to design and deliver high quality, effective 401(k) and other qualified plans. She believes the role of retirement plans is to create successful outcomes for employees and optimize business outcomes for employers. She has the depth of experience within the retirement planning industry which allows for a unique and creative approach to design plans that align with corporate goals and objectives. Cami particularly enjoys working with plan participants to provide proactive educational opportunities and resources that position them to maximize their retirement accumulation opportunities.
Cami grew up in the Twin Cities and graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, with a Bachelor's degree in accounting. Shortly following graduation, Cami earned her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. In addition, she holds the Qualified Plan Financial Consultant (QPFC) designation. She has been a member of the American Society of CPAs and the Minnesota Society of CPAs since 1999 and ASPPA since 2011. In 2015, Cami was named a National Association of Plan Advisors Top Women Advisor Captain due to her significant contributions to the retirement planning industry and her role as leader in her firm’s retirement plan division. Outside of work, Cami enjoys spending time with her family at their cabin in northern Minnesota and spending as much time outdoors as possible doing a variety of activities. Her community involvement includes being active with the Autism Society of Minnesota, volunteering for United Way, Feed My Starving Children, and the Sheridan Story. Cami and her husband, Ken, live in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, with their three children.
Chrissy John serves as a Client Servicing Representative for Carlson Capital Management. Chrissy is the welcoming colleague you will see when you visit our Hastings office and one of the voices you may hear when you call into the firm. She is responsible for office management, hospitality, scheduling meetings and preparing materials for client presentations. Chrissy also is a primary contact for account openings, fund transfers and other client account servicing needs. In addition, she works with the Hastings advisory team and specialists by handling key administrative functions.
Chrissy is a graduate of Winona State University where she majored in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. She joined CCM with more than ten years of administrative and office management experience. In her free time, Chrissy enjoys spending time with her family on walks, bike rides, and trips to the local pool. She also always looks forward to the family’s annual trip to the Minnesota State Fair. Chrissy grew up in Cannon Falls and now lives in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, with her husband, Doug, and their three active young children.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
This quote by Steve Jobs speaks to my heart and captures the essence of what motivates me to do my best work. Surrounding myself with people who care about what they are doing and the people they are doing it for drives me and inspires me. I love coming to work every single day because I get to be part of something I find rewarding and satisfying. The fact that all of our clients are so friendly and appreciative is just the icing on the cake!
Chris Kuhn serves as a Client Servicing Representative for Carlson Capital Management and as the primary Client Servicing Representative for CCM Institutional Client Services. She is a primary contact for account openings, fund transfers and other client account servicing needs. In addition, she works with the Hastings advisory team and specialists by handling key administrative functions. For CCM Institutional Client Services, Chris assists 401k plan sponsors and plan participants with all service-related requests.
Chris joined CCM with more than twenty-five years of administrative experience – most recently with the Dakota County Attorney’s office as a Legal Administrative Assistant. Prior to that position, she worked with Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Company in St. Paul providing support in the office of the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer. Outside of work Chris enjoys spending time with family and friends at the lake, enjoying the outdoors during the summer. In the winter months she is an avid hockey fan. Chris grew up in Prescott, Wisconsin and she and her family now reside just over the river in Hastings.
As we pack up the car and make our way “up north” to visit our family cabins, I find myself filled with a sense of gratitude and peace. Aside from raising three children to be gracious and successful adults, my husband and I have realized that our happiest times are spent making memories with our friends and family in the quiet of the north. These moments are spent together deepening relationships as we share stories and laughter, goals and dreams.
I feel fortunate that when I am not at the cabin, I get to spend my days at the office building relationships with people I truly enjoy and who share a common drive to help others achieve their dreams and desires. I also really enjoy meeting clients in person and putting a face to the name. This kind of interaction deepens and strengthens the relationships I have with our clients, and makes my work even more meaningful. I am constantly encouraged and impressed by our firm’s commitment to providing the best service to our clients while making sure that my colleagues and I are where we want to be and doing what we do best.
Colin Watkins serves as an Associate Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. In this role, Colin works with clients on all aspects of planning and portfolio management within the firm’s Carlson Portfolios platform. Of his many responsibilities, he places particular emphasis on maintaining on-going communication with clients to ensure an exceptional experience.
Prior to his current role, Colin was part of the ViaForte team (an affiliate of CCM) where he worked as a Policy Analyst. Previous work experience included a role at Sentry Insurance in Stevens Point, Wisconsin where he served as a Business Specialist, working in claims and as a modeling analyst. Colin holds the Certified Financial Planner™ designation granted through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
Colin graduated cum laude from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2011, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. During his time at Lawrence, Colin was closely involved in residence life on campus, serving as a resident advisor for three years. He also spent a semester based in Budapest, Hungary studying mathematics and traveling around Europe.
Colin is originally from Northfield, and now resides in south Minneapolis with his wife, Hillary and two dogs, Lucy and Beans.
I’ve always been drawn to pursuits and opportunities that expand my horizons. This fascination has manifested as hobbies I’ve enjoyed – disc golf, beer brewing, playing music, to name a few – as well as in my desire to learn more about the world I live in and the people I meet. I live for moments of new understanding, especially when shared with others.
Working at Carlson Capital Management has given me the unique opportunity to continually broaden my horizons. Each new client I meet comes with a unique story, and unique aspirations, leading to new connections to make and new problems to solve. Most significantly however, is that in the process, I am able to help others reach their goals. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning—a fresh opportunity to grow my circle, and help others grow theirs too.
Members of the CCM Advisory Team regularly post articles of interest on financial planning which you can find here.
Colleen Schneider serves as a Client Servicing Representative for Carlson Capital Management. She is the welcoming colleague you will see when you visit our Bloomington office and one of the voices you may hear when you call into the firm. Colleen assists clients with account openings, fund transfers and other account servicing needs. In addition, she works with the Bloomington advisory team and specialists by handling key administrative functions. Colleen is responsible for office management, hospitality, scheduling meetings and preparing materials for client presentations.
Colleen’s formal education includes studying fine art and psychology at higher education institutions in Minnesota and Montana. Her most recent professional roles include five years at Eden Prairie School District, three of those as an office assistant, preceded by seven years in production scheduling with a direct mail and marketing company. When not at work, Colleen especially enjoys camping and spending time with her grandsons. Colleen is also an artist primarily painting in acrylic and oils, but is always trying something new. She grew up in Shakopee, Minnesota, and now lives in Burnsville with her husband, Doug, and very near to their three children and six grandchildren.
Colton Higgins is a Paraplanner at Carlson Capital Management. In this role, Colton works closely with the firm’s wealth advisors, collaborating throughout the planning process to deliver comprehensive financial plans to clients. He is responsible for collecting, tracking and monitoring related data, preparing presentation materials and assisting with portfolio management. Colton also facilitates client-advisor communications and works proactively to monitor and complete client-related servicing activities. In addition he is responsible for a strong working knowledge of and leveraging of firm technology to best serve clients.
Colton graduated from Winona State University where he earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Finance and Marketing. During college, Colton served as Chairman of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Business. He was also a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity, where he was the president. Prior to joining the CCM Team, Colton worked with a large cloud-based software provider in the Twin Cities. Hockey has been part of Colton’s life since he was a kid, and he now enjoys refereeing at all levels from youth to college. In the summer months, he enjoys being with family and friends, playing softball and spending time outdoors at the lake. Colton grew up in Fairmont, Minnesota and now resides in St. Paul.
D. Charles (Charlie) Lawson, serves as a Tax Manager as part of the Carlson Capital Management team as well as with CCM Tax & Trust Administration. As part of the tax planning and compliance team, Charlie provides tax expertise and prepares client returns. In addition, Charlie works closely with the advisory team to deliver clients fully integrated wealth management services that include his expert tax counsel.
Just prior to joining CCM, Charlie served for five years as accounting manager for a St. Paul CPA firm. In this role, he advised affluent clients in general financial and tax planning in addition to providing tax compliance services –preparing and reviewing individual, gift and fiduciary returns. Prior to that position, Charlie worked as an audit/accounting supervisor for another Twin Cities firm, where he was responsible for the overall servicing of business clients in one of the firm’s key niche sectors. In this role he worked closely with business owners consulting on activities including budgeting, forecasting and cash flow analysis. He began his career in the banking industry where he prepared financial reports for trust accounts in the retirement services area. Charlie is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Minnesota Society of CPAs.
Charlie is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on finance, investments and banking. Outside of work, Charlie enjoys spending time in the outdoors, particularly hunting and fishing. He is also active in the community as a board member of the United Way of Hastings. Charlie and his wife, Jennifer, reside in Hastings with their three children.
Charlie and other members of the CCM Tax Team regularly post articles of interest on tax planning topics which you can find here.
Dorene Kelly works with CCM Tax & Trust Administration to provide client servicing related to the tax compliance season. She provides support and client communications to help facilitate all aspects of the tax return process.
Dorene joined CCM having more than thirty years of administrative experience--the majority of which was has been in the legal profession--primarily as a senior litigation legal assistant for large law firms in Kansas City, MO., and in Southern California. She relocated from Southern California to Minnesota in 2000. Upon moving to Minnesota and prior to joining CCM, Dorene was employed as a courtroom clerk for the 1st Judicial District, as well as a legal secretary for a law firm in Bloomington. Outside of work Dorene enjoys traveling and camping as well as helping her teenage son organize gigs for his classic rock band. Dorene is an Iowa native and now resides in Hastings with her husband, son, and two very furry dogs.
Ginger Church serves as Executive Assistant to the Principals at Carlson Capital Management. In this role, she supports the development and management of the firm. Ever focused on the team approach, Ginger continually looks for ways to align details with people for a positive client experience. She is your connection in the Northfield office if you are not able to reach Greg or Justin.
Ginger grew up on a family farm in Kasson, Minnesota and graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Paralegal Studies. For 30 years she supported litigation attorneys as a legal assistant/paralegal, focusing on client contact, jury studies, investigations, and document analysis. Her roles grew to include management of litigation department paralegals and teams of case assistants/paralegals for national, multi-party litigation, as well as Office Manager for a Minneapolis presence of two Chicago law firms. Her keen eye for detail and project management was put to further use in 1992 when she assumed an Administrative Assistant role for the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association’s Symposium on the Future of the Civil Jury System with the Brookings Institution. Most recently, she was a Litigation Paralegal for Greene Espel, P.L.L.P. in Minneapolis.
Apart from her professional life, Ginger and her husband Steve are co-owners of Church Landscape in Kenyon, Minnesota, where she focuses her involvement on landscape design and sales. Ginger and Steve also raise registered Columbia and Suffolk sheep at Morning Meadows Farm in Kenyon. During the winter lambing season you will find her in the barn helping Steve and their dog, Josie, with the newborn lambs, and on occasion, mothering an orphan lamb in the warmer comfort of their basement.
Volunteerism is an important part of Ginger’s community involvement. She is a Past President of the Minnesota Paralegal Association, and former board member of the Kenyon Arts Council and Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault. Ginger also served for two years as a co-chair for the 5th Bridge Feed My Starving Children meal packing event. Ginger is current President of The Merlin Players and co-pianist for Prairieville United Methodist Church. Her passions include theater, music, literature, letter writing, animal care, needlework, design and architecture, and the quiet of an early Sunday morning in the country.
Stories of a life: a tale of the windings through various landscapes that have made us who we are. No one sits and becomes. Rather, we seek, stretch, and stumble to our current plain, only to experience sunrises and sunsets that continually change us. I have had a walking journey, traveling from a farm girl childhood through big city law firms and into Carlson Capital Management. Against the prevailing current, my stories are no longer in line with the expected. Rather, as the Persian mystic and poet Rumi said, “Start walking … then comes the moment of feeling the wings you’ve grown lifting,” and the landscape changes. The constant, however, is the deep and lasting relationships that create the authenticity of my life. As a child, my mother and father encouraged me to complement my daily chicken chores with music, literature and art; in the process they taught me humility and gratitude. My siblings, even today, broaden my understanding of compromise and companionship. Friends, some forever and others new, stretch me to find their passions and meld them with mine. Workmates energize my dedication to purpose and a job well done. My husband, as partner in life and enterprise, demonstrates by example the significance of integrity and excellence. Experiences have become stories: the fundamental values enriched by my journey have strengthened and simplified. My wings now open to a new prevailing wind like the sail catching the late morning gust of mist and sun.
As I serve Carlson Capital Management, working closely with Greg, Jeff and Justin, I offer my authentic voice in service to you. What is important to you is important to me. I handle your stories, those past and those yet to be told, with personal dedication, focus, and respect. Our landscapes will change as our stories unfold, but the authentic care you experience at Carlson Capital Management will remain consistent and genuine.
James Michael Yaworski is an Investment Research & Trading Specialist at Carlson Capital Management. James works closely with CCM's Director of Investments & Research, and is responsible for monitoring and reviewing client portfolios to maintain balance across asset classes, making recommendations for portfolios when out of alignment with models, reviewing daily cash positions, and placing trades through the custodial trading platform. James also assists with new client portfolio analysis, asset class/portfolio research and analysis, preparing client presentation materials, and other activities that support overall client portfolio management.
James is a graduate of Northern Illinois University where he earned his degree in Finance. While studying at NIU, James gained insights into his future career as part of a student-managed portfolio team. Prior to joining CCM, James’ experience included working in the roles of investment manager, project manager in investment research, and financial analyst in both large and small financial organizations. James holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA Charter) designation, granted by the CFA Institute, which entails a rigorous exam requirement. He enjoys being engaged in the community with Habitat for Humanity and Paws & Claws. In his free time, James also enjoys golfing and playing softball. James grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois and now resides in Rochester, Minnesota with his wife, Brittany, infant daughter, and their two dogs, Frankie and Jordy.
James and other members of the CCM Investment Team regularly post articles of interest including investment insights, recommended reading on timely topics, and articles on portfolio management which you can find here.
Jason Kley is the Director of Financial Planning and a Senior Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. As a Senior Advisor, Jason partners with clients and their families providing the firm's fully integrated wealth management experience including investment management, retirement modeling, estate, philanthropic and educational planning and all other aspects of general financial planning and client care. In this role, Jason also connects clients with the firm's specialists for overall portfolio management as well as direct access to expertise in areas such as tax planning and insurance analysis. In addition, Jason is a member of the firm's investment committee, helping to advise on investment practices and strategies. Jason also serves as the Director of Financial Planning, ensuring all processes related to the integrated wealth management functions and delivery of CCM’s client experience are aligned with the strategic mission and vision of the firm, meeting or exceeding operational expectations, and consistently administered across all geographic and functional locations.
Jason holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Math and Computer Science from the University of St. Thomas where he graduated magna cum laude in 1998. He went on to earn an MBA with an emphasis in Finance and Strategy from Washington University in St. Louis. As a graduate student Jason was recognized for his strong leadership in being named a Leadership Fellow and Dean’s Special Service award recipient. Jason holds the Certified Financial Planner™ designation granted through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, as well as an Accredited Investment Fiduciary professional designation, awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies. The AIF designation affirms the highest in fiduciary standards of care for CCM clients.
Before joining the CCM team, Jason worked for a Minneapolis wealth management firm where he served as a financial advisor, investment committee member, and 401k plan specialist. Prior to that, Jason worked for Thrivent Financial and Union Pacific, serving in business analyst and strategic operational roles.
In 2015, Jason joined the Financial Planning Association of Minnesota Board and was elected President of the organization for 2018. He has also served on the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce DRIVE Emerging Leaders Board, BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture Advisory Committee, and the City of St. Louis Park Police Advisory Commission. In addition, Jason volunteers his time through the University of St. Thomas and the Financial Matters program of BestPrep, speaking to high school and college students about financial principles. Jason was awarded the BestPrep Volunteer of the Year in 2016 and named the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce Emerging Leader of the Year in 2009. He has been featured in various publications including Minnesota Business, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Outside of work, Jason enjoys spending time with family, playing softball and golf, and traveling. Jason, his wife Sheila, and their two young sons reside in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
With each passing year, I find that I am placing an increased emphasis on being focused. On the surface, having focus seems to run counter to the priority our society places on multi-tasking. In reality, the more focus one has—the more efficient they really are. When I’m able to focus on a conversation, I can understand more clearly and develop relationships through more attentive listening. When I am truly engaged with someone, it means putting down my mobile device, listening, and asking questions. If I’m focused on a project, I’m more effective, I’m learning more and am producing better outcomes. As I am playing with my children, I’m focused on inspiring their creativity and teaching them life lessons. Nothing else matters at that moment in time. Focus allows me to prioritize the things that are important in life, and allows me to drown out the noise that I cannot control. Focusing on things that are important forces me to move beyond the things that are not.
I enjoy working with our clients at CCM and I appreciate the opportunity to focus on what I can do to help them meet their goals, and allow them to focus on what matters most to them.
Jason and other members of the CCM Advisory Team regularly post articles of interest on financial planning which you can find here.
Jessica Hayes is the Senior Technology Officer at Carlson Capital Management. Jessica works as part of the Operations & Technology team at the firm and is responsible for effective and efficient management of hardware, software, and cybersecurity for the firm. Jessica provides direct technical support for colleagues in addition to providing training on hardware and software, and leveraging the use of multiple devices. She also works with the Operations & Technology team on project management and provides leadership, training, and work direction for the technical support team.
Jessica earned an Associate in Arts degree from Anoka-Ramsey Community College. She also attended the University of Minnesota – Duluth, where she completed coursework in Computer Science. Jessica joined RE/MAX Results in 2011 and provided technical support and training to real estate agents and office staff. When she’s not working, Jessica enjoys photography and discovering new bike trails. She is a Minnesota native and currently resides in Northfield, Minnesota with her cats Max and Dexter, and her dog, Elliot.
When I was about three or four, in a burst of creative energy, I decided to draw a portrait of my dad. On our car. With a rock. When my mom saw it, she was understandably upset and I repeatedly assured her that it would be okay because the drawing would wash off. She asked how on earth I was planning to wash it off. So naturally, I picked up a handful of sand and started walking toward the car. She stopped me just in time, but had to laugh because she knew I was right.
The idea here is that I’ve known how to fix things from a very young age, but my solutions have become much more sophisticated as I’ve grown older. I am thankful that the work that I do at Carlson Capital Management offers me the opportunity to find creative answers to tough problems.
Jill Metz serves as a Client Servicing Representative for Carlson Capital Management. Jill is the welcoming colleague you will see when you visit our Northfield office and one of the voices you may hear when you call into the firm. She is responsible for office management, hospitality, scheduling meetings and preparing materials for client presentations. Jill is also a primary contact for account openings, fund transfers and other client account servicing needs. In addition, she works with the Northfield advisory team and specialists by handling key administrative functions.
Jill is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota where she majored in Public Relations. Following college she worked in the television industry and as an account manager in marketing before beginning a career in the event industry. Jill joined CCM with more than ten years of experience working with clients as a catering manager. Jill is actively engaged in the community and has chaired the Laura Baker Services Gala for seven years. In her free time, Jill enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching sports, being outdoors, and trying out new restaurants. Jill (Topp) grew up in Northfield and is happy to be raising her two children there with her husband, Justin.
Jordan Peck serves as a Client Servicing Representative for Carlson Capital Management. She is the welcoming colleague you will see when you visit our Rochester office and one of the voices you may hear when you call into the firm. Jordan assists clients with account openings, fund transfers and other account servicing needs. In addition, she works with the Rochester advisory team and specialists by handling key administrative functions. Jordan is responsible for office management, hospitality, scheduling meetings and preparing materials for client presentations.
Jordan attended Rochester Community Technical College where she pursued and earned certification as a registered nursing assistant. She worked in nursing-related roles for three years. Jordan then went on to work at the Mayo Clinic where she served for six years in administrative and office management roles. She enjoys volunteering and has been particularly active helping with projects and events that raise funds for cancer research. In her free time, Jordan most enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She especially enjoys family time camping in Spring Valley where they take in dirt track racing. Jordan grew up in Rochester where she now resides with her husband, Mike, and their two children.
Judd Lohmann is a Senior Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. As a Senior Advisor, Judd partners with clients and their families providing the firm's fully integrated wealth management experience including investment management, retirement modeling, estate, philanthropic, and educational planning and all other aspects of general financial planning and client care. In this role, Judd also connects clients with the firm's specialists for overall portfolio management as well as direct access to expertise in areas such as tax planning and insurance analysis. In addition, Judd is a member of the firm's investment committee, helping to advise on investment practices and strategies.
After graduating from St. Olaf College in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Judd went on to receive his MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota with a concentration in Finance. He began his career at Honeywell in Minneapolis, where for three years he conducted capital planning and investment analysis. For the following twenty-one years Judd was employed by IDS/American Express Financial Advisors/Ameriprise, serving in a financial leadership capacity in several areas: in the Real Estate Department he was the principle financial analyst for the new corporate office center; in the Advisor Technology Department he led the financial analyst team that helped redesign the sales tools and processes, and in the Treasury Department he was responsible for investor and rating agency relationships and preparation/coordination of monthly meetings of the corporate Balance Sheet Management Committee.
Judd has been involved with and supported various organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Over and Back, the Boy Scouts of America, a Circle of Service volunteer group, and Emmaus Church of Northfield, Minnesota. He and his wife Susan enjoy living in Northfield, where they have raised their three children.
The concept of integration is an important one for me, and has become more so throughout my life. I want my life to be integrated, to have the pieces fit well and make sense together. And the word integration shares a common root with another word that is significant to me. This word is integrity, and for me personally it means being the same person wherever I am and whoever I am with – living as a person of integrity.
I believe these principles can carry over into the financial component of one’s life. A financial plan is optimized when it is well aligned and integrated with one’s goals and intended legacy. It is essential that our clients feel secure knowing that, not only is there a plan in place, but also that this plan is being prudently monitored and managed to ensure that their goals and legacy are consistent with their intentions. It is our job to listen carefully to your goals, help establish a course that provides the best means to set it in motion, and then to work with you to stay on the established course or respond appropriately to life changes.
Judd and other members of the CCM Advisory Team regularly post articles of interest on financial planning which you can find here.
Katy Vermeer is an Senior Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. As a Senior Advisor, Katy partners with clients and their families providing the firm's fully integrated wealth management experience including investment management, retirement modeling, estate, philanthropic and educational planning and all other aspects of general financial planning and client care. In this role, Katy also connects clients with the firm's specialists for overall portfolio management as well as direct access to expertise in areas such as tax planning and insurance analysis.
Katy joined CCM with more than thirty years of experience in financial services, including nearly a decade of serving clients by advising on all aspects of wealth management. Prior professional roles include leading business development initiatives, portfolio management, product management, and marketing. Katy worked most recently as Director of the Wealth Strategies Group with a firm in the Twin Cities. In addition to serving as a wealth advisor for clients and their families, Katy was instrumental in implementing a wealth planning platform, deepening the discovery process for firm clients, leading wealth planning workshops and contributing to the firm’s client education communications.
Katy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Business from DePauw University. Katy has also attained the Certified Financial Planner™ designation granted through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
When not at work, Katy enjoys being active outdoors. She loves using the lakes and parks of Minneapolis any time of the year. She and her husband, Kerry, live in Southwest Minneapolis. They have three grown children.
Doing well and doing good are both really important to me. This message related to excellence and responsibility is one that has always resonated with me and I work to incorporate it into my daily living, both at work and at home. At CCM when I am doing well for our clients I know that I am positively affecting their lives. By encouraging them to be purposeful about their wealth, I am hopeful that good happens, whether that is with the resources they use for themselves, their families or for the community.
Katy and other members of the CCM Advisory Team regularly post articles of interest on financial planning which you can find here.
Kelly Irvine is Director of Marketing & Communications for Carlson Capital Management. She oversees the firm’s marketing plans and project implementation; client communications and appreciation activities; event management and community involvement, all with an eye on keeping our clients’ experience at the forefront.
Kelly graduated with departmental distinction in Political Science from St. Olaf College in 1992, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude. Her career took her to Montana, Idaho and Wisconsin before a return to Minnesota in 2003. Kelly’s professional background spans both the corporate and non-profit sectors. She has held corporate management positions in community relations and human resources. Just prior to joining CCM she worked as a development officer at the University of St. Thomas.
Community involvement is important to Kelly. She was selected as a Policy Fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, where she was a 2004-2005 participant. Past activities have included volunteer advisory committee service at St. Dominic School and co-chairing 5th Bridge-Feed My Starving Children Northfield meal-packing events. Kelly is a past board member of the Northfield Area Family YMCA and of the Helena Education Foundation. Kelly, her husband Colin, and their two children spent the 2010-2011 school year living in and working from Oslo, Norway. She now telecommutes from Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she resides with her family.
Like many Minnesotans, I grew up with the privilege of “going to the Lake” in the summer. (Much to the chagrin of my spouse, who hails from the West, we Midwesterners never really bother to specify which lake. It’s just the Lake.) Not unlike many families in this area, I am fortunate in that early ancestors from Norway had the foresight to purchase lake front land where they wasted no time establishing family traditions – including an annual July 4th celebration. And while land is simply land, it’s our “landscape” that helps describe the essence of who we are. For me that landscape, and more precisely “the Lake,” is really all about family.
I recall my wedding day as guests came out of the chapel to greet us in the receiving line. My new mother-in-law from out of state stood next to me as I introduced her to many unfamiliar faces. She remarked later that every other person was “a cousin from the Lake.” How right she was. In our family, it doesn’t matter if one is a first cousin, a third cousin twice-removed, or the spouse of a second cousin – we are just cousins. Cousins range from several months old to those in their nineties, and, oddly enough, we consider ourselves part of an “immediate” family, even though the number of us easily exceeds a couple hundred. We all grew up spending summers at the Lake, and we were always accountable to the aunts in the generation (or two) ahead of us. We are there for one another’s weddings, funerals and sometimes birthdays. We look forward to sharing kransekake and rommegrot. We are intent on ensuring that our children know our cousins’ children. So, to know me is to know that I am a wife and a mother, a daughter and a sister, a grand-daughter, and, of course, “a cousin.”
All of us at CCM look forward to learning your story, because that is how we at CCM have defined ourselves as a company, and that is how we will continue to define ourselves in the future. We must know you and your story before we can help you accomplish what is important to you.
Kevin Koski serves as Director of Tax Services at Carlson Capital Management and as a Senior Tax Advisor with CCM Tax & Trust Administration. As part of the tax planning and compliance team, Kevin provides tax expertise and prepares client returns. Kevin also works closely with CCM planning team members to deliver clients integrated planning services that include expert tax counsel.
Kevin came to CCM with strong expertise having worked with clients at a St. Paul CPA firm for fifteen years. In his role there, Kevin provided leadership and direction for the firm’s tax services practice, and advised clients on income & estate tax matters. Kevin was also an advisor on general financial planning topics such as stock option analysis, charitable planning and gifting strategies for high-net-worth individuals and families. Kevin is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Minnesota Society of CPAs.
Kevin grew up in Virginia, Minnesota and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting. Shortly following graduation, Kevin earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) status. Outside of work, Kevin has three children and enjoys volunteering as a coach and assistant with their athletic teams. Kevin and his family reside in South Minneapolis.
Kevin and other members of the CCM Tax Team regularly post articles of interest on tax planning topics which you can find here.
Kim Diemer serves as an Associate Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. As part of the advisory team, Kim works with clients on all aspects of planning and portfolio management within the firm’s Integrated Wealth Management platform. Of her many responsibilities, she places particular emphasis on maintaining on-going communication with clients to ensure an exceptional experience.
Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University. During her time at Tulane, she served as a student government representative and was President of the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. Following college, Kim served for a year as an AmeriCorps Fellow in New Orleans, Louisiana. She then went on to earn a Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University, where she was Vice-President of Red to Black Peer Financial Coaching, a group that provided one-on-one financial coaching for other students.
Kim joins CCM with experience as a financial planning intern with a Twin Cities wealth advisory firm, and three years’ experience working as an office manager for the Public Defender’s Office in New Orleans. In her free time, Kim likes to explore running trails and restaurants in the Twin Cities and spend time with friends and family. Kim is originally from Grand Junction, Colorado, and now resides in South Minneapolis.
As a Senior Client Servicing Representative for Carlson Capital Management, Lynall Malecha serves both new and current clients with all aspects of account management including activities such as account openings, fund transfers, online access, and many other key account servicing needs. In addition, Lynall provides office management and client hospitality and works with the firm’s advisors by handling central administrative and servicing functions. She also serves as a lead within the firm's team of client servicing representatives establishing and ensuring high standards of care for CCM's clients, and providing leadership, training and work direction.
Lynall joined CCM with more than fifteen years of experience in commercial insurance, including client and policy servicing as an account manager. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and gardening. Lynall is a Northfield, Minnesota native, and lives in the country outside of town with her husband Mike, where they raised their two daughters.
As a Senior Client Servicing Representative for Carlson Capital Management, Mary Schubbe serves both new and current clients with all aspects of account management including activities such as account openings, fund transfers, online access, and many other key account servicing needs. In addition, Mary provides office management and client hospitality and works with the firm’s advisors by handling central administrative and servicing functions. She also serves as a lead within the firm's team of client servicing representatives establishing and ensuring high standards of care for CCM's clients, and providing leadership, training and work direction.
Mary joined CCM with more than twenty-five years of experience in customer service management, sales administration, project management, and operations support roles. Client servicing combined with managing multiple projects simultaneously has been a common thread in Mary’s career. When she’s not working, Mary enjoys attending her children’s sports activities and gardening. Mary grew up in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota and now resides in Bloomington with her spouse and two children.
Matt Morehead is an Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. In this role, Matt is responsible for all aspects of the client relationship and investment portfolio management. He primarily serves clients by recommending, implementing and coordinating integrated wealth management services, including investment management, retirement modeling, insurance analysis, educational planning, estate and philanthropic planning and other general financial planning.
Matt joined CCM with more than ten years of experience serving the wealth management needs of affluent individuals and families in various leadership roles at firms in both Denver, Colorado and Baltimore, Maryland. Matt received his Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, from the United States Coast Guard Academy, and began his career as a Coast Guard Officer in Duluth, Minnesota, driving an ice-breaking and search-and-rescue ship on Lake Superior. After his shipboard tour in Duluth, he then went back to the Coast Guard Academy as an admissions officer and leadership instructor, and simultaneously earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law and his Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Matt’s tenure as a wealth advisor followed law school, when he turned in his Coast Guard uniform for a coat and tie to serve people in a different way, helping a small group of individuals and families navigate the often difficult waters of properly managing their wealth.
Matt has been recognized with numerous Coast Guard awards, as a “Forty Under Forty” rising business leader in Denver, Colorado, and as a Five Star Wealth Manager, “Best in Client Satisfaction,” for his work with affluent families. Through the years, he has been active with Rotary International and various organizations aimed at mentoring disadvantaged youth. Outside of the office, Matt enjoys playing golf, cooking and being a dedicated “hockey dad and chauffeur” to his son, Maxwell. Matt and his wife, Heather, currently reside on the beautiful campus of Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota. Matt will be serving clients from CCM's new downtown location in Rochester, Minnesota.
When I was a football player at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, there was a saying above our locker room door that read, “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” That quote has stuck with me through the years, having more relevance to me now as an Integrated Wealth Advisor at CCM than as a young cadet at the Academy. I enjoy getting to know each of our clients on a deep level, understanding their goals, and in many cases, helping them to determine and prioritize their goals for the future. I then enjoy partnering with my CCM colleagues in their specific areas of wealth management expertise to make these goals actually happen, continually trying our absolute collective best to jump over, crawl under, or go around the obstacles that can inevitably pop up along the way. Helping our clients do great things with their wealth over time, as defined by them, and witnessing their resulting fulfillment, is extremely gratifying to me. I can’t think of a more worthwhile and satisfying pursuit.
Matt and other members of the CCM Advisory Team regularly post articles of interest on financial planning which you can find here.
Matthew Rich is an Integrated Wealth Advisor at Carlson Capital Management. As part of the advisory team, Matthew is responsible for implementing and coordinating all aspects of integrated wealth management for clients, including investment management, retirement modeling, insurance analysis, estate and educational planning and other general financial planning according to a client's needs.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, Matthew went on to receive his Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law. He also holds the Certified Financial Planner™ designation granted through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Before joining CCM, Matthew practiced as an attorney helping individuals and small businesses develop practical solutions to complex legal issues. Throughout his career, he has sought opportunities to merge advocacy and leadership, and currently serves on the board of the Northfield Retirement Community. Matthew is also an advisory committee member and former board member of the Community Action Center of Northfield. He and his wife, Leah, reside in Northfield, Minnesota, with their four children.
Success can be measured by the quality of the relationships one keeps. Relationships are built on trust and integrity, and the former is established through the unyielding execution of the latter. That is how I approach my work, and I appreciate the opportunity to partner with clients and colleagues who share my values. Our clients deserve our best at every stage in the relationship, and it is exciting to be part of a firm that embraces that responsibility and is constantly looking for new opportunities to deliver an extraordinary client experience.
Matthew and other members of the CCM Advisory Team regularly post articles of interest on financial planning which you can find here.
Michael Paulson is a Business Analyst at Carlson Capital Management. In this role, Mike works proactively to seek out new opportunities to assist functional areas in planning more effectively, maximizing information, determining process effectiveness, defining best practices, and identifying high-impact activities. He also conducts system customization, revisions, implementation and analysis. Mike is responsible for a strong working knowledge of and leveraging of firm technology to best serve clients.
Mike graduated from the University of Wisconsin, La-Crosse where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Accounting and was a dean’s list student. During college, Mike gained experience in financial services as a stockbroker intern. He was also a member of the student Financial Management Association and participated in intramural sports. Prior to assuming the Business Analyst role at CCM, Mike worked as a Paraplanner, and as part of CCM's Investment Team where he gained a strong working knowledge of the firm's investment approach and was a key participant in proactive management of client portfolios. Mike has always had a strong interest in chess, and coached an elementary chess team as a high school student. Mike grew up in Eagan, Minnesota and now resides in South Minneapolis with his wife, Katie.
Paige Woods serves as a Tax Senior as part of the Carlson Capital Management team as well as with CCM Tax & Trust Administration. As part of the tax compliance team, Paige provides tax expertise and prepares client returns. In addition, Paige works closely with the advisory team to deliver clients fully integrated wealth management services, lending her experience to proactive tax-related planning.
Paige’s most recent experience includes four and a half years as a tax senior for a Minneapolis CPA firm. In this role, she worked in a variety of capacities providing tax compliance services –preparing and reviewing individual, fiduciary, partnership and corporate returns. She also reviewed complex gift tax and estate returns and assisted in subsequent tax planning related to estate administration, as well as provided consultative scenario-based tax planning services for clients. Paige also served in a coaching role for early senior-level consultants, providing hands-on technical skills training, mentorship and professional development. Paige is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Paige is a graduate of the University of North Dakota, where she earned her Bachelor of Accountancy, graduating cum laude. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time checking out the foodie and brewery scene in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis with friends and family, especially the pet-friendly places so her bulldog, Cash, can join. Paige grew up in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and now resides in downtown Minneapolis.
“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning...to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years; for that dash represents all the time she spent alive on earth, and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth…so when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?"
The above excerpts from “The Dash,” by Linda Ellis may hit home for each of us. For me, these words are a reminder that life is finite and fleeting. Each day that I am lucky enough to wake up, I will behave intentionally and purposefully, always asking myself if my next move will get me a small step closer not only to where I ultimately envision myself, but also if that move will help to get those around me closer to their big picture goals.
We each have the same 24 hours every day that we choose what to do with. My colleagues and I choose to spend our hours each work day serving our valued clients by cultivating relationships and learning their unique stories, cohesively making every decision in each client’s best interests, so they can, in turn, spend their hours continuing to pursue their lifetime passions with peace of mind, knowing their thoughtfully developed wealth plan is in trusted hands.
The CCM Tax Team regularly posts articles of interest on tax planning topics which you can find here.
Pete Roseboom serves as a Senior Tax Advisor as part of the Carlson Capital Management team as well as with CCM Tax & Trust Administration. As part of the tax compliance team, Pete provides tax expertise and prepares client returns. In addition, Pete works closely with the CCM advisory team to deliver clients fully integrated wealth management services, lending his experience to proactive tax-related planning.
Prior to joining CCM, Pete’s professional experience included eight years in progressively responsible roles with RSM US LLP in Rochester, Minnesota—most recently as a Lead Tax Manager. Pete's experience has encompassed working in a variety of accounting and tax advice capacities serving clients. He brings extensive experience assisting affluent clients and middle market businesses with their tax compliance and planning needs. Pete is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Pete is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Outside of work, he enjoys golfing, hunting, and spending time with family. Pete is active in the community serving as a board member for Bear Creek Services of Rochester, an organization that provides personalized community life experiences for individuals with developmental disabilities and brain injuries. Both being Rochester natives, Pete and his wife Danelle reside in Rochester, Minnesota with their two children.
The CCM Tax Team regularly posts articles of interest on tax planning topics which you can find here.
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that our dear friend and colleague, Sandy Rowan, passed away on Thursday, December 31st. Sandy fought a valiant battle with cancer for the past two years, and within the past month, complications became such that treatment was no longer an option. Sandy was part of the CCM family for sixteen years, and a truly beloved member of the core team that has made CCM what it is today. It is an understatement to say that she will be missed—but there is so much about her that we will miss.
We will miss her warm smile that was there when we walked into the Northfield office every morning. We will miss her maternal supervision of our comings/goings and ensuring we were wearing coats when it was cold. We will miss her laughter and her teasing. We will miss her consistent reminders to advisors about putting things into “the queue.” We will miss getting updates on her beautiful grandchildren, and time at the cabin spent with family. We will just plain miss her consistent, dependable, loyal and caring presence. There will be an empty place in our office, and in our lives.
Sandy’s legacy unquestionably will be ever-present in the lives of her husband, Bill, her two children and their families. In addition, she has left a lasting legacy at Carlson Capital Management. Sandy was central to making our client servicing team what it is today. When she joined CCM she was a very experienced office manager, and new to financial services. What she left was a thriving, efficient operation--always focused on providing clients with the best service possible. Sandy had numerous relationships and friendships with CCM clients who we know will dearly miss her as well.
Godspeed dear friend as you cross this threshold. We are so grateful, Sandy, for the place you filled in our CCM family. Our firm will forever hold for you the place on our team that can be only yours.
As Director of Human Capital, Scott’s responsibilities include the development and management of all colleague-related plans and programs. It is Scott’s mission to ensure that CCM colleagues have the knowledge, skills, abilities and resources required to provide the highest level of service to our clients.
Scott has more than 25 years of experience providing human capital solutions to the financial services industry, with small to large market wealth management firms, banks and their custodians. Prior to joining Carlson Capital Management, Scott was Managing Director of Pepin Consulting, designing talent management solutions for the global wealth management industry, and Managing Principal of the Seabury Group where he worked on Human Resources planning and design engagements for the financial services and retail industries. Prior to Seabury, Scott led the rewards department and was a manager of the talent transformation team at Best Buy, Co. Inc.
Scott grew up in the Twin Cities and graduated from Saint Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights. He also attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, where he studied Business Administration and Finance. Scott is a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) and is master certified in multiple talent management disciplines. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on talent and compensation related issues facing the financial services industry. Scott enjoys being engaged in the community and serves on the board of directors for Artistry (at the Bloomington Center for the Arts). Artistry is a regional arts non-profit serving the community through theater, visual arts, art education and creative place-making programs. Scott resides in St. Paul, and when the weather allows, he spends as much time as he can sailing on Lake Pepin.
Since the very beginning of my career, I have had my internal colleagues as my clients. My feeling has always been that if I put forth my maximum effort into caring for my team, that positive energy would then be transferred directly to our external client relationships. To me, this represents a resolute devotion to our clients. It’s our commitment to them that they will always have the best of our human resources brought to bear when fulfilling their needs.
Whether it is spending time with my family or with friends, I treasure my personal relationships above all else and work hard to make time for each of them. Most of my time outside of the office is spent in this pursuit and, during the summer months at least, sailing in the Minnesota and Wisconsin blufflands on Lake Pepin.
As Colleague/Team Support Specialist, Sue Rossi’s responsibilities at Carlson Capital Management include providing direct support to Principal Jeff Carlson, and acting as a project manager for firm initiatives, and for offerings such as CCM Institutional Client Services. Her goal is to achieve successful and sustained alignment of colleague activities, effective communication, accomplishment of team goals and effective deployment of resources.
Sue comes to CCM with more than twenty years of experience providing marketing and communication solutions in the financial services industry, including retail mutual funds, regulatory entities and higher education providers. Prior to joining Carlson Capital Management, Sue was Director of Client Relations Services for the Office of the Treasurer of the University of California (UC). In this role, she was responsible for developing internal and external communication strategies, maintaining consistent messaging and cultivating relationships with key stakeholders throughout the University system. In previous roles, Sue served as an advertising analyst for the Investment Companies Regulation Department of the National Association of Securities Dealers Regulation, Inc. (now FINRA) based in Washington, D.C. Sue also served as a Vice President of Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as National Accounts Manager and as Manager of Research Communication.
Sue grew up in Rochester, Minnesota and graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in American Studies. While she has lived and worked throughout the country, she has always considered herself a Minnesotan at heart and is pleased to have returned to put down roots in the historic Lowertown district of St. Paul. Sue has a daughter and twin sons and spends her free time curling and exploring Minnesota’s back roads.
Tanisha Justus serves in the role of Technology Officer at Carlson Capital Management. Tanisha works as part of the Operations & Technology team at the firm, providing direct technical support for colleagues in addition to providing training on hardware and software. She also supports colleagues in leveraging the use of technology systems, applications and resources in order to best serve clients. She also works with the Operations & Technology team on project management.
Tanisha holds both a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Technology as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management Studies from Northern Arizona University. In addition, she has earned the Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ designation from the College for Financial Planning. Tanisha comes to CCM having worked for two years as an IT Specialist with one of CCM’s ZAG member peers in Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and reading. Tanisha is a Tucson, Arizona native and currently resides in Maplewood, Minnesota with her two dogs.
Tim Jackson is Director of Operations and Technology at Carlson Capital Management. In this role, Tim is responsible for oversight of all firm operations and technology. This includes planning, implementing and managing all aspects of technology to enhance both the client and colleague experience at CCM. He is also responsible for ensuring support and maintenance of existing applications, platforms and tools, as well as researching and implementing new solutions on an on-going basis. Tim’s hands-on experience and strong technical aptitude help ensure the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the firm’s operations.
Tim graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics with an emphasis in mathematics. After graduation, he joined a small software company in the Twin Cities, where he worked in research and development. Tim has extensive self-taught computer skills and has significant experience in designing and maintaining websites. In 2017, Tim began a three-year term as a member of the Charles Schwab Technology, Operations, and Service Advisory Board. He also volunteers his technical skills to assist a variety of non-profit organizations. Tim and his family live in Northfield, Minnesota.
Family is very important to me. I grew up with three brothers and three sisters, and my parents have since gone on to adopt thirty more children, bringing the total number of children in my family to thirty-seven. The closeness of my family has instilled in me a strong sense of family values, which I carry forward to my own family now. My wife and I love every second we are with our children, watching them develop and grow.
Growing up in a large family has also given me a great understanding of teamwork and how to get things done. My brothers and sisters would seldom all agree on things, but somehow we managed to compromise and move on without anyone getting left behind. My family experiences have helped me apply these skills of teamwork and compromise in the business world. Teamwork has always been a part of the CCM culture and I’m proud to provide our clients with an experience that reflects this value.
Tom Nowariak is an Investment Trading Specialist at Carlson Capital Management. As part of the investment team, Tom is responsible for monitoring and reviewing client portfolios to maintain balance across asset classes, making recommendations for portfolios when out of alignment with models, reviewing daily cash positions, and placing trades through the custodial trading platform. Tom is also responsible for key activities that support the firm’s data management and custodial relationships.
Tom is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Financial Markets - Finance. While studying at UMD, Tom was a participant in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics’ Financial Markets Program which was responsible for managing an investment portfolio worth over $1 million. He also gained industry experience through an internship with a large advisory firm in the Twin Cities. In his free time, Tom enjoys playing hockey, spending time with family and friends at the cabin, and fishing the many lakes in Minnesota. Tom grew up in Eagan, Minnesota where he currently resides.
The CCM Investment Team regularly posts articles of interest including investment insights, recommended reading on timely topics, and articles on portfolio management which you can find here.
As Chief Administrative Officer at Carlson Capital Management, Tom leads the firm's strategic and tactical activities related to functional administrative areas such as finance, compliance, legal, technology and operations. In addition, as a member of the senior management team, Tom works closely with the President and the Board on the development of the firm's annual and long-term strategic plans. In his dual role as Chief Financial Officer, Tom is responsible for the development, communication and execution of the firm’s corporate financial planning function. He oversees internal accounting and budgeting processes and reporting, corporate tax management, vendor management and financial technology. Tom also manages all regulatory compliance processes for CCM and leads the Risk Management Committee, partnering with the Chief Compliance Officer.
Tom brought more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry to his position at CCM. He served more than twenty years in the roles of chief financial officer and president of a Twin Cities based multi-state, multi-industry holding company. His professional experience includes all aspects of strategic, general and financial management as well as substantial experience with mergers and acquisitions.
Tom grew up in the Twin Cities and graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor's degree in Business. He went on to earn his MBA in Finance from the University of Minnesota. Tom's involvement in the community has included school board service, coaching, and sitting on numerous non-profit boards including a large land trust in Western Wisconsin. Tom and his wife, Maureen, raised their son in New Brighton, Minnesota, where they now reside.
Tonya Quade, Corporate Administrator, has been part of the Carlson Capital Management team for more than twenty years, allowing her to contribute to the firm with a wide breadth of responsibility. Tonya manages the firm’s accounting activities, human resource functions and general corporate administration operations. In addition, she is responsible for serving as donor advised fund administrator for the American Center for Philanthropy, a non-profit organization seeded by Carlson Capital Management.
Tonya has called Red Wing, Minnesota home since 1979. She graduated from Red Wing Central High in 1991, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Shortly there-after, Tonya began her career with Carlson Capital Management and following the founders, is the most tenured colleague at the firm.
Outside of work, Tonya enjoys spending time with family and friends. Tonya and her husband, Monte, live in Red Wing with their two sons.
Having been with CCM since 1996 when there were only four of us on the staff, I have seen and been part of many changes at the firm. The company has evolved in both small and large ways (everything from a name change to adding additional office locations), but there has been one constant that has remained unchanged. That constant is Carlson Capital Management’s commitment to each client and helping them in all aspects of their financial lives. This commitment is proven in not only the wide range of services we offer, but also in the personal attention that is given to making each client feel part of the Carlson “family.” It is part of our core philosophy that puts the client at the center of all that we do, and I think this is what makes our firm so unique.
It is with great sadness that we share that our dear friend and colleague, Victoria Plugaru, passed away on Tuesday, December 20th. Victoria was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in June of 2016, and fought hard until the end with beautiful grace and deep gratitude for each day she had.
Her impact as a CCM colleague was short but significant. She joined our firm in August 2015, in the role of a paraplanner, working alongside of CCM advisors to support them in caring for our clients. She was a quick study, had a generous spirit, and took her work seriously. Her Eastern European roots were evident in her strong work ethic and practical approach to life. We will always remember her beautiful smile, her willingness to do what it took to get the job done, and her deep appreciation for all that she had. We will also remember her giving spirit. She loved to cook, and if you sat near her during lunch, she was sure to offer you a sample of her latest meal creation, along with the recipe. Victoria told us, "It's the Romanian way. Food is love to us."
Victoria leaves behind her husband, Nick Shanklin, a Minneapolis police officer and three young children, Luke, age 5, Landon, age 3 and Mikayla, 11 months. Her family was her greatest love.
We will miss your presence dear Victoria, and we will strive to honor and follow your daily example of approaching life with a positive outlook, a practical nature and gratitude for what we have.